Monday, December 11, 2006

Just Half the Job

I recently read this well-written article in the Miami Herald from Richard Pachter titled, ''For authors, writing's just half the job.'' If you study this article, you will see a great deal of information and insight for any book author woven into it.  For example, one of the people interviewed was Lissa Warren, senior director of publicity for Da Capo Books.  I’ve got this article from Lissa about Ten Things To Do If Your Book Isn't Receiving Enough Media Attention. It's an excerpt from her excellent book, The Savvy Author’s Guide to Book Publicity

I was interested to see this quote in the article from Lissa speaking about the publisher: ''They should at least be able to secure reviews from the Big Four trade publications -- Publishers' Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist and Library Journal -- too.''  It's true in general, publishers are intimately acquainted with how to pitch reviews for these publications.  There are a couple of caveats here which aren't mentioned about whether your book gets in these publications. First understand these publications receive massive amounts of pitches and the editors select which books actually are assigned for review and appear in the magazines.  The other bit of information not in this article is these publications have long lead times.  Over a year ago, I was in a meeting where the religion reviews editor at Publishers Weekly was encouraging editors to send in their manuscripts as soon as possible. She said, ''If you are comfortable sending unedited manuscripts, then we'll take them and send them out for book reviews.'' What if the edited manuscript is drastically transformed from the unedited version? I hope you see some of the issues this could create.  Or what if the author misses their contracted deadline and is late? While the author doesn't think about it, a late manuscript handicaps the publisher's ability to reach these trade journals with book reviews.

Each aspect of the publishing process involves effort and contains it's own set of challenges. It is much more complicated than most people know or acknowledge.  If you are like me, you see all sorts of things whirling around you which ''could'' become books. Are they the right idea and are you the right person to write that idea? It all begins there. 

After you select the idea, you create the pitch.  The pitch might be a one-page idea that you use at a writer's conference to gain attention. Or you send it as a query letter to see if a literary agent or editor will be interested. OK, you create a pitch that gets attention. Then you have to follow through with the full length book proposal which delivers. It's not easy for any of us--if we are really honest about it. The process is long and involves diligent and disciplined work at each step of the journey.

2 Comment:

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Bonnie S. Calhoun Left a note...

"The process is long and involves diligent and disciplined work at each step of the journey."

That's why being a writer is not for the faint of heart!

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Heather Ivester Left a note...

As a reviewer, it's hard for me to review an unedited advance review copy. I've gotten some that were full of typos, and it takes away from my enjoyment of the book. I wonder if the copy editor will catch these mistakes -- or if my review readers should be forewarned.

And like you said, what if the final version changes drastically from what the reviewers receive? It makes our job tricky. I'd rather wait and receive a book once it's been edited. This is also why I've gotten very wary of self-published books -- you never know what to expect when something hasn't seen the eyes of a professional editor.


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